Engine Machine Shop/ Rebuild Shop Reccomandations

I am currently rebuilding a Big Block Chevy based engine. When I used to live in Knoxville, I once took a crankshaft to the machine shop and they wanted $250 and three weeks for turn the crank. I kept looking and found another shop which did the same work for $75 and took 24 hours. I have returned to that shop multiple times and they have always treated me fair and I came to find out that many of their work came from local racers. These were legitimate ‘car guys’ who did good work for a fair price.

I have found a huge difference in the price between machine shops; however, for simple engine bores and other rebuild tasks, they all seem to do similar work- the mentality of a machinist is to be very precise.

My question is where should I take my block and/or heads in the Dallas area?

City Motors is on Harry Hines, but they seem like they may be a ‘production’ shop that wants to nickel and dime for everything. Example, their price list reads $150 to prep a v-8 prior to going into the tank. If I take ‘block only’, I’m thinking that is 60 seconds worth of prep.

I know that there are the ‘Mexican’ rebuild shops near the junks yards near I-35 and Grand Pararie, but I have no experience with any of them.

I also have seen Engine Brothers on Craigslist and Coyote Engines on Yelp. I am focusing on ‘true engine machine shops’, but mechanics which are going to send the parts out.

The performance shops see a 502 Chevy Big Block and they see dollar signs as this is a common race engine, but I’m not trying to do anything crazy to this engine- basically stock with a performance cam, about 450hp.

I would have no issue paying someone at DMS, but to my knowledge, our machine shop is not set up to work on engine blocks. From what I understand, there are a number of specialized jigs and tools required to handle engines, not to mention I value the expertise of someone which does this type of work every day.

Any first hand advice?

It’s been…probably nearly 2 decades since I’ve made use of them, and back then I had much tighter connections than “some dude at this place I go to work on my car said to call you”, but the guys @ Wayne Calverts in Denton did outstanding work for what I considered to be incredibly low prices, all things considered (they’re a “race shop”, work on chebbys and I needed import work, etc.).
I’d recommend the drive to drop in and chat with them, so you can see what you think for yourself…

That Prep at City Motor is if you bring them anything other than just a block. They charged me 70 or 75$ to remove the bottom end out of my wife’s cars block. I could not get the balancer off as I did not have the specific honda tool & was in a hurry to get to work. I tore that motor out real early one morning & was expecting to get to work decently on time…

I now have said Honda balancer removal tool. You might go by there & talk to them in person. Ive found with most places I start hanging around a while & buy small miscellaneous parts they tend to give me a better deal in the long run. Example is my Billet Torque Converter I picked up for like 165$. Normally that thing is like 5-600$ range.

I used City Motor to rebuild a 383 stroker, within 700 miles, I had a catastrophic failure. It seemed like they were a turn and burn shop. I am a bit jaded, so take it for what its worth.


That’s the worst, did they offer any warranty?

I felt like I was being blown off, and I was already too deep into the car, so I sold it without a motor.

That 70 chevelle barn find was a b.all buster from the first time I got it home. Left me on the side of the road 6 or 7 times due to carb, fuel filter, gas tank, etc, lol. I was told the car was running fine when it went into the barn. Finally got the car started and there was a clatter in the lower end. Spun main bearing.

Anyway enough kvetching, needless to say when the piston cratered, I was soooooo done with that car.

Warranties on machine work is laughable. It takes so much time and materials to do the work over; that even if they re-did the machine work for free, you are still screwed.

Thanks all for your comments. I’m going to try the shop in Denton…

Have you checked out Performance Engines in Denton? They are not a mass production engine rebuilding shop, but an award winning engine builder.

This is one of the last engine re-builders in the world that still pours babbitted bearings. The shop is also known as Piranio’s Antique Automotive. They re-build 1928-1931 Ford Model A engines in there shop all the time. In fact, the owner holds the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats for the 100+ MPH record at 117 MPH in a 1929 Ford Model A. He upgraded a stock 40 HP engine to an incredible 299 HP. This makes him the fastest flathead 4 cylinder Model A powered Ford Coupoe to ever run at Bonnneville.


Hi All, I am looking for the same recommendation now in Mar 2020. I am not building a race engine, but it is a 2.3L Pinto ford. It is my first engine build and I would like to find a machine shop in DFW area that is decently priced and does a good quality work. Appreciate any recommendation.

@ Wayne Calverts built my 502… reasonable and super qualified… Shop looks like it’s from the 50s

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I think that’s a compliment…
Glad to hear they did a job you’re happy with.